When You Reject Your Feelings, You Reject Yourself

Witness And Detach From Negative Emotions

The more capacity one has for an experience, the more tolerable the experience is, and the easier it is to remain a witness to it in a steady manner.

Raja Selvam

I want to ask you a question, so simple that you may have overlooked asking it yourself: How do you experience negative emotions? Do you get curious about them? Do you make time to sit and process the emotions? Or do you distract yourself with activities such as scrolling through social media, socializing, binge watching TV shows, etc.?

Now, you might think: Who wants to process negative emotions? After all, you’re likely to experience many of them throughout the day, and it’s a waste of time to process them. I completely understand your concern; however, if you don’t make the time to make peace with your negative emotions, you are rejecting yourself. Allow me to expand on this further. Until you develop the wisdom to process your difficult emotions, your life will be fuelled by the suppression of negative energies within you. For example, when a negative experience or person inflames the suppressed feelings, you believe they are the source of your pain, when in fact they are the trigger for the pain. Expressed differently, the pain is already present within you, but the energy devoted to suppressing it leads to reexperiencing the negative emotions.

It requires becoming a witness to your emotional experience without becoming entangled in the emotions. I realize this is easier said than done because negative emotions are real and to separate yourself from them requires practice and patience. But each time you witness your negative emotions and detach from them, you lessen the discharge of negative energy stored in your subconscious mind. In effect, you are dissipating the negativity, so when a similar experience occurs, your reaction is likely to be less inflamed. Does this make sense? Can you see that becoming an observer of your emotions allows you to create a space around them? It is this act of witnessing that allows awareness to do the heavy lifting, instead of the egoic self, which forms a judgment around the negative emotion.

Acceptance Of Negative Feelings

“The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and then let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body.” — Eckhart Tolle

To put this another way: the tendency to reject yourself arises from disapproving of your negative feelings. And you are not entirely responsible for feeling this way because your primary caregivers and society inform you, it is wrong to experience anger, shame and guilt. So, you suppress these feelings, but the suppression of any negative feeling is an act of rejection of oneself. This is because the wholeness of your true nature means being comfortable with your shadow self. Namely, you accept your negative emotions and integrate them into the wholeness of your being. It is integration, not separation, that leads to wholeness. Therefore, you accept all that is because pure awareness does not judge or limit itself to only positive feelings. Mother nature has given us negative feelings for a reason. If you believe there are no accidents within this purposeful universe, it must follow that your negative feelings serve a purpose.

In other words, your positive and negative feelings are an integral part of who you are. You create separation by identifying with positive feelings and excluding negative emotions because you are judging aspects of yourself. I’m not inviting you to love your negative feelings but asking you to accept them as they arise. Remember, acceptance does not mean liking what you experience. It means dropping your resistance to what is taking place. Acceptance means negative emotions such as anger, shame, or guilt can be useful in helping you discover aspects about your true self. For example, anger can help you set boundaries on what you’re willing to accept. Shame and guilt open the door to self-love and self-acceptance because they invite you to heal and transform your past you may have misidentified with.

I hope you get the sense that acceptance, not rejection of one’s negative feelings, leads to transformation and healing. So, I ask you: Could you give yourself the gift of accepting your negative emotions instead of pushing them away? Even if it means processing them a little each time, it will go a long way in helping you to heal from negativity. You see, rejection of oneself is deeply rooted in the subconscious mind, and the more energy awarded to it can lead to a sense of hopelessness, uncertainty, and even depression. Therefore, when you distract yourself from dealing with negative emotions, you signal to your subconscious mind it is wrong to feel this way. So, the energy of rejection is kept alive throughout your Mind-Body experience.

Process Your Negative Emotions

“The way to change our bodies is to change our thoughts and feelings. We must let go of negative thoughts and belief systems and shed the stress of negative emotions that give them energy.” — David R. Hawkins

So how can you transform your negative emotions without suppressing them? As I’ve explained earlier, it requires creating time in your busy schedule to sit with your emotions and process them. There are many books that explain how to process negative emotions.

The underlying principle in processing negative emotions is to allow the emotion to complete its natural cycle. If you suppressed it when you first experienced it, it is bound to stay active in your mind and body system. Sometimes, it can lead to physiological dysfunction and may cause illness or disease. For instance, the neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor suggests it takes 2 ½ minutes for an emotion to move through your nervous system. So, if the emotion remains stuck and not allowed expression, the energy of repressing it may cause stress in your mind and body.

Considering this, I invite you to write a list of the negative emotions you experience often. Is it fear, anger, shame, guilt, or other emotions? Write each emotion on the left-hand side and see if you can work through what the emotion is inviting you to learn about yourself. Is it patience, kindness, setting boundaries, compassion, or something else? Once you have completed this exercise, carve out time throughout the week to sit with these negative feelings and process them thoughtfully. Feel them through your body because each time you do, you are releasing a layer of negative conditioning from your mind and body. Ultimately, when you reject or make wrong your negative feelings, you are rejecting yourself. This is something you have the power to shift by greeting your negative emotions with openness, self-compassion, and curiosity.

This Is Your Reminder To Slow Down And Trust Your Timing

There’s no rush.

Naturally, we compare ourselves and our journey to other people’s paths. It’s our instinctual human tendency to be loved, adored, and cherished; thus, we judge our own worth by the external validation that we receive from others while not fully realizing that our lives are no longer our own to figure out.

But this is your reminder to breathe, slow down, and go at your own pace.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in life because you’re not exactly where you want to be right now. This enormous pressure that we create for ourselves may carry a heavy burden on our shoulders and ultimately affect the things in our lives that matter most — our health, our relationships, our passions, and our ability to be present in this moment. All the things cannot be replaced as time goes on.

In my own life, there have been so many times where I’ve caught myself becoming anxious over a future version of myself that I wish to dictate and control the outcome of. This feeling of ‘control’ often stems from a lack of true metrics in which we are judging ourselves by. We desperately want to live up to other people’s standards of what they believe to be happiness and success, when really, we need to foster and cultivate our own standards for what we want to know as success and happiness.

You do not need to prove anything to anyone — you are more than enough as you are now. While you can always grow to become a better individual — a better version of who you are now — let’s not take away the fact that you deserve to be proud of who you are today and who you’ve become through all the tribulations of your life thus far.

Breathe. Slow down. Take a moment for yourself. Gain perspective. Trust your path. Trust yourself. These are the foundations of a life well-lived that stems from your worth being based on who you are now inside, not from what’s outside of you.

Because at the end of the day, what’s the rush?

In the end, we all end up in the exact same place. And while this may be a scary thing to think about at first, it’s also enlightening to know that we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves — we just need to be real with ourselves and what we really want in our lives.

Choose your life. Don’t allow others to choose it for you.

One Day, You’ll Realize You Were On The Right Path All Along

You were never meant to predict the ebbs and flows.

As you navigate the open waters of your life, there’s no telling where the sails of your boat may direct you; what’s far more important than knowing how you’ll get somewhere in the end is having faith that you’ll get there without knowing how. That in and of itself is perhaps the hardest part of the journey—believing in yourself when the path is unclear, and perhaps when no one else currently does.

As I navigate my own scary waters, I’ve questioned, doubted, and wondered whether I was making the right decisions in my life. It’s so difficult to trust your gut while believing in the uncertainty that lies ahead. But what I can tell you from personal experience is that trusting your gut and allowing yourself to drift with the current is perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made.

As long as you know where you want to go, there is nothing more liberating than realizing that anything is possible if you’re willing to stay committed to your journey, believe that you are receiving the growth that you need in this moment now, and persevere through the seemingly rough times in your life that lie ahead for you. Those difficult times will help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

So give yourself permission to grow into the person you’ve always aspired to be.

Give yourself permission to take a risk in your life on something that you truly believe in because you see what your life could be if you’re willing to just go out there and try.

The only way we fail in life is if we give up entirely. Be brave enough to bet on yourself when times get hard, knowing that in the end, you will be okay no matter what. You will always be okay. There are no wrong turns in life.

Every moment has led you into the person you are today.

You are exactly where you are meant to be.

6 Reasons Everyone Should Go To Therapy (Even If You Don’t Think You Need It)

We’ve been living in the COVID-19 pandemic for over two years now, and it has brought with it—among other things—a greater awareness of mental health. More people than ever are experiencing increased rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. While the pandemic’s toll is burdensome, to say the least, it is extremely validating to see that mental health is being taken more seriously.

Everyone’s treatment for mental health issues looks different, but for many of us, it involves talk therapy. It looks different for everyone, but therapy can help anyone. You don’t need a mental illness to see a therapist; you don’t even need to be in a crisis to see a therapist. 

Here are reasons everyone should consider therapy:

1. Therapy helps you deal with everyday life. 

While it’s true that not everyone has a mental illness, it’s also true that everyone struggles with their mental health—just like everyone struggles with their physical health. Learning coping strategies and how to better handle situations are crucial skills to learn, and therapy teaches you just that. For many people, it helps to speak to an objective person, like a therapist, as opposed to speaking to friends or family members. And therapists have backgrounds in psychology, sociology, and similar fields, so they have expertise in the human mind that we could all benefit from.

2. Therapy teaches you about yourself. 

 Therapy is a great way to learn who you are as a person. When you identify your thinking patterns and common emotions, when you identify how you interact with the world, you have a better understanding of yourself. A lot of what I’ve learned about myself I’ve learned from therapy. This is not to say that you can’t learn these skills outside of therapy, but therapy can do this for you, too!

3. Therapy can prevent a mental health crisis. 

 Getting therapy before you’re in a mental health crisis—such as a major depressive episode or an actively suicidal state—can be a lifesaver. Oftentimes, our problems get worse when we leave them unaddressed. And the longer we leave problems alone, the more time they have to build up, which makes things worse. If I had gone to therapy as soon as I noticed things were off, I could have saved myself a lot of struggling and pain. At the very least, I would have had the support I needed earlier on, which is crucial to the recovery process.

4. Therapy destigmatizes mental health. 

While there’s been an uptick in people discussing mental health publicly there’s still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health in general. The media rarely portrays mental illness, and when it does, it’s often riddled with stereotypes: People with mental disorders are perceived as dangerous, weak, and downplaying or even lying about their illness. Taking the first step to acknowledge that you need help is already a great way to break the stigma around mental health. And when you find the right fit for therapy, you’ll learn that mental health isn’t something to be scared of or feel shameful about. It’s a health issue, like any other health issue you may experience, and sometimes you need help in treating the issue. There’s nothing wrong with that. Realizing you need help is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

5. Therapy validates your feelings.

Ideally, everyone would have people in their lives who support them, not just medical professionals, but also their support system. Sadly, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people grew up in communities where mental health was taboo, and they may be living with people now who feel the same way. This sort of “hush-hush” attitude toward mental health can be very isolating, which only worsens mental health conditions. A good therapist won’t do this. They will help you work through your thoughts, but they will also acknowledge and validate your feelings. Therapists don’t treat mental health issues like personal failures—they treat them as health issues. They work with you to understand your feelings and validate what you’re going through.

6. Therapy empowers you.

 Therapy gives you the tools needed to deal with the stress, trauma, and pain life throws at you. When you go to therapy, you find things that used to overwhelm you now overwhelm you less. Therapy gives you skills to not only practice in therapy but also in your day-to-day life. Therapy doesn’t “fix” you; instead, it gives you the skills you need to get through life’s worse hardships. Knowing that you are an active participant in your therapy treatment can be daunting, but it can also be liberating. The moment you made the appointment and first spoke with your therapist, the moment you committed to helping yourself. You owe your success to both yourself and your therapist.

There are so many benefits to going to therapy beyond the points I listed above. Mental health is physical health, which means you need to maintain it, and it helps to see professionals from time to time. If you don’t know where to start, check out Psychology Today’s comprehensive therapist search. You can filter based on location, issue, therapy type, in-person vs. teletherapy, and more.

It Will Fall Apart Before It Falls Into Place

You might wake up one day in agony at the life that is now yours, thinking to yourself: How did I get here? How did one or two or several bad decisions lead to this? Will I ever feel the way I once did?

Us humans, we take things for granted. Although we try our best to savour the good times, it only takes a perspective shift a year later for us to compare every risk we’ve taken, every mistake we’ve made, every person we should’ve parted ways with, every conversation that should’ve ended earlier. And it’s normal to feel this way. Sometimes our struggles amplify and we aren’t equipped to deal with them because they shake us to our core.

Adulthood comes with its own sets of challenges and the reality is they can break us. And there will be many times you’re laying on your bedroom floor staring into space in disbelief that you’re living this way. You might dissociate as a coping mechanism when everything gets overwhelming.

But this sequence of events is not permanent.

You will adapt; you will grow. You will learn to manage your new normal and you will become stronger because of it. When it feels like everything has come crashing down, it’s because something better is coming and you are being prepared for this next stage of your life.

Allow yourself patience, understanding, and grace. Sit with your suffering until the rebirth ensues, because it will. Once you’ve experienced the lowest of emotions, there emerges a resilience that cannot be bought—a force so powerful it will set the tone moving forward for all the challenges life will bring in the future.

You’ll need to trust this process, as difficult as that could be. Believe that better things are coming and that everything is falling apart so better things can come into your life—so situations, people, and places that are aligned with your values can find you.

And they will. Just give it time.

This struggle is not permanent.

You’ve Survived All The Moments You Thought You’d Never Get Through

This moment seems impossible. You’re in the thick of your anxieties and don’t know where a solution will come from. Frankly, some days you don’t know how you’ll make it. This is your reminder that you’ve survived 100% of the moments you thought you’d never get through. 

This doesn’t mean you aren’t hurting. This doesn’t mean that most days you can’t see the way forward. It simply means that you did exactly what you were supposed to do: Survive.

It doesn’t matter how messy it was. You survived beautifully. We don’t celebrate that enough. We’re told that survival mode isn’t enough, and yes, while we want to thrive, this also takes time and healing. Have you ever stepped back and said, “Wow, look at how far I’ve come”? And I don’t mean in a hurried, dismissive way, but in a way that wrenches your gut, drops you to your knees, and breaks down the pain? In a way that melts the resistance, and allows you to say with pride, “Yes, I did that.” You did exactly what you were supposed to: survive any means necessary. 

Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with me?” know that everything is right. You were looking for connection. As humans, that’s what we’re supposed to do. You survived, and now it’s time to work through the process of untangling those survival pathways. Gently. Sometimes we get stuck along the way because we think that we’re not doing or being enough. We tell ourselves that we’re not making any progress. We get discouraged, but please remember that you can have feelings of despair and still be on the right path. You can change your thoughts. You can change moods. You can recover from any circumstance and take control of your life.

I know at times it feels like you’re not making any progress. I know at times you feel utterly alone, but please remember that you survived 100% of the moments you thought you’d never get through. 

The Only Way To Truly Heal Is To Keep Fighting For Yourself

Those who have been on their healing journey for years now would tell you that they have tried it all: moving to a new city, seeking therapy, reading all the self-help books, getting over their own fears, taking risks, moving out, leaving that toxic relationship, quitting their jobs… and the list goes on. They would tell you that they have followed every rule in the book and added their own spin on it, but those who have truly conquered the healing journey will tell you that the most important rule is to keep fighting for yourself. That is the winning rule, everything else is just secondary.

You can change everything in your life and go to the best therapists, but there will be times when you will have to face your biggest fears alone. There will be times when you have to fight the toughest battles alone. There will be bad days when you don’t have anyone to call and you’ll only have yourself. There will be times when everyone in your life has done their job and it will be time to do yours because your main job begins, not when everything is going right, but when everything goes wrong and you’ve used up all the tools that could help you. Your main job begins when you’ve studied the whole book and now it’s time to take the test.

Healing doesn’t mean that everything in your life will magically start to go right, it means that you’ll have to learn how to fight for yourself when everything is going wrong. When you’ve tried so hard for something that fell apart. When you’ve invested so much time in something that didn’t work out. When you gave too much to someone who ended up using you. When you’ve trusted someone with all your heart and they thanked you by breaking every promise. These are the moments when everything you’ve tried so hard to heal from comes crashing down on you. These are the moments when you question everything you’ve worked on and believed in. These are the moments that have the power to paralyse you when you are so close to the finish line.

Healing doesn’t mean anything when you don’t practice it during hard times. It doesn’t mean anything when you don’t fight against the same things that broke you in the first place. It doesn’t mean anything when you don’t counteract all the triggers that evoke your self-destructive behaviors. It only counts when you are faced with the worst and you handle it differently this time around. When you choose to fight for yourself instead of giving up and going back to the person you used to be.

Because it’s easy to fight for yourself when you’re happy, when you’re winning, or when you’re being loved or praised for your success, but it’s hard when you’re beating yourself up or when you’ve messed up something good or when you’ve let yourself down, because trust me, nothing will heal you during these moments but yourself. No one will be able to stop your limiting beliefs or negative thoughts from permeating your mind except for you. No one will understand the magnitude of your worries or fears or pain like you do. So you can only heal by fighting for yourself over and over again, especially when it’s the hardest thing to do. You have to be the only one cheering yourself on, especially when you’re losing.

You may not carry that self-help book everywhere you go and you can’t always call your therapist anytime. You may not always have supportive friends or parents who can guide you, and this is why you have to learn how to fight for yourself so you can heal on your own, and if you do it right, your life will drastically change. 

30 Validating Phrases People Need To Hear When They’re Hurting

Emotional validation is about recognizing and accepting another person’s emotional experience. The opposite is emotional invalidation, where we dismiss, ignore, or judge another’s feelings. We’ve all been there. When someone completely ignores what we have to say we feel like we don’t fundamentally matter. Let’s be clear, validating each other’s feelings doesn’t mean that we agree with them. It simply means that we value their viewpoint and recognize that what they’re experiencing is very real to them. Sometimes that’s all we want in conversation—to be heard, acknowledged, and feel like a person of worth.

Here are some emotionally validating (and hope-filled) words you can say…

1. I don’t understand everything you’re going through, but I’m here for you.

2. Do you want me to listen or give advice?

3. You don’t have to do or be anything for me right now. 

4. Don’t worry about anything right now. I’ve got you.

5. So what I hear you saying is? Is that correct?

6. Show/Tell me how you want to be loved.

7. I don’t have all the answers, but we’ll figure out a way together. 

8. You don’t have to reply; I’m just checking in on you.

9. I remember the time you made me smile.

10. I remember the time you cheered me up.

11. You’re valuable. I want you to remember that.

12. You made a mistake, and that’s okay. Let’s work it out together.

13. You’re not feeling like yourself right now, and I understand.

14. When your depression lifts…

15. You’ve been strong for so long. It’s not a weakness to break down. 

16. I believe in you.

17. I still love you.

18. Hold on. I want to give you my undivided attention.

19. You’ve been a great friend/partner/parent.

20. I appreciate you so much.

21. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Do you want to talk about it?

22. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. How can we fix this? 

23. What you’re feeling right now is valid, and I see you.

24. I’m sorry I hurt you.

25. Let’s do this and call it an act of hope.

26. You don’t have to hold back your emotions to make me feel comfortable.

27. I’m committed to working this out.

28. One day you’ll look back on this moment, and it will seem insignificant compared to all you’ve accomplished.

29. That must be so frustrating.

30. I can see how you would feel that way, and it’s valid.

Pretending To Be Normal Is Exhausting When You Have A Mental Illness

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Pretending to not have a mental illness when you do. Society makes us do that. We have to make it seem like we have it all together. We have to act like we’re fine when deep down everyday is a struggle. We have to act outgoing and hardworking all the time when in reality we’re overthinking and wondering if people hate us. People who don’t have mental illnesses don’t get how hard it is.

We have to wear a mask and act “normal,” and the stigma needs to be taken away. Nobody pats us on the back, yet we are actively fighting something.

Some days, trying isn’t good enough for everyone, and that’s hurtful, because some days it’s all we can do. We have to actively try every day to make everyone around us think that we’re some form of okay. And that’s exhausting. Nobody taught us about mental illness in school and it’s sad. When we get out in the real world, there’s no set list of things to do or rules to follow. We constantly think what we’re doing isn’t correct, and maybe it’s not good enough. Ever feel that way?

If you have, I can relate to you. It’s hard to feel good enough when society makes you feel like shit day in and day out. What else do we have to do to make people understand that we’re trying day by day? We have to work so much harder all the time to get to even a small place of contentment. Sometimes we lay in bed and think of all the things we could’ve done “better,” when in reality, we did our absolute best. Ever feel that way?

I’d like to tell anyone who does feel that way: You’re not alone. I feel that way every day, and sometimes I struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I’d like to tell you that you matter and nothing you do is terrible and is absolutely great.

Live Your Life (Not Your Social Media Life)

It may indeed be the highest wisdom to elect to be a nobody in a relative paradise than a celebrity in a world which has lost all sense of values.

Henry Miller

We live in a world so dramatically different than any before us. We live parallel lives of reality and virtual origins. We are split. Told that if we aren’t pretty enough, popular enough, happy enough, then we are defective. We live in an age where people are “famous” because they are beautiful, and that’s it. That’s all it takes. They have a camera, and they show us how beautiful and happy they are, and we all believe it. We question our realities. We take a photo for “the gram”. We check our angles, we suck it in, we make sure our makeup is in place, our hair perfectly coiffed, and we put in place our perfected smiles. We want to be a part of the popular crowd.

But we aren’t just posing for the photos anymore.

Why do we all have this need to be a somebody? To be different, remembered, better? Why do we feel the urge that what we are is not enough. That being ordinary isn’t extraordinary? That we need to convince others of our happiness? Pardon me, but there are very few people that actually give a shit about each of us. We have our select few (family, friends, coworkers) who would actually be there for us, who would bring us soup when we are sick. So why do we feel this urge to take our pretty pictures so to make sure they know how happy and pretty we are too?

We are in an age where we are no longer living for ourselves. We are living to show others how wonderful we are. We are living in a show to convince the world that we matter.

Why? Honestly, why? If you have an answer please tell me. Because it seems skewed to me, to live in front of these screens when there’s a beautiful world outside. A world where things are different, where we actually interact, where you experience sounds and smells and feel the wind in your hair. Where you meet people and they see you back, you both get to look into each other’s eyes. There’s something about reading your book at the park or at a coffee shop. About going on a walk alone with your thoughts instead of suppressing everything that makes us individuals by watching what the masses are doing. There’s something about not wanting every product that social media ads target at you. There’s something about being the person that brings the soup to someone who is sick instead of sending them a message to feel better soon. There’s something about feeling whole being ourselves.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with living a simple, ordinary life. About realizing that we are all just a small part of a big beautiful world.

We can make differences in the lives around us without pretending for those outside of our circles. We really don’t have to pretend. We don’t have to fear oblivion, because you know what? It’s going to happen. We are all just small parts of a whole.

We matter, of course we matter, but each of our individual existences is not the end all be all of the human race.

We don’t need to focus on getting a nice picture of our fun day unless it’s something that is kept for ourselves. The amount of likes a photo gets is not a measure of how wonderful we are, or how successful our day was.

We can dress up nice because it makes us feel pretty, go outside, and take pictures that empower ourselves and make us feel confident in our skin. We don’t have to document every small sliver of our existence as though without it we are nothing. We can use social media as a photo album of our lives, for ourselves.

What he knows and does, and what the average citizen can not or will not do, is to enjoy solitude, to live life simply, to crave nothing, and to share what he has when called upon. Let us leave him where he is, Mr. X. a master of the anonymous life.

Henry Miller

P.S. It’s okay to take breaks from social media.